RENO, Nev. (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert was hosted as a guest speaker at this year's annual Tailhook Association Banquet in Reno Sept. 7.
The banquet is a culmination of a three-day symposium hosted by the Tailhook Association to promote fraternity and mentorship in the Naval Aviation community.
The three-day symposium included special events for the members and their families, to include panels by veterans on Vietnam combat and Hanoi Hilton and briefings on aviation safety and spouse financial matters.
Greenert, speaking to more than 1,200 past and present aviators, their families, POWs, industry and aviation supporters highlighted the history and future of naval aviation.
The CNO was impressed how veterans of naval aviation in the audience, veterans of World War II Korea and Vietnam, used their valuable experiences to mentor, nurture and teach the upcoming generation of leaders and pilots.
"I think it's astounding, and those of you who spent the money to come out here, I haven't seen anything like this that embraces who you are, what you are about and what so many of you believe in," he said. "So many of you served so many years ago to come here and bring in the people who serve today and honor them and they honor you."
Greenert also stressed the enduring necessity for naval aviation as global security concerns are on the rise.
"Carrier aviation has epitomized the Navy for a long time. When the American public thinks forward presence you always see the pictures of the aircraft carriers."
Greenert is the 3rd Chief of Naval Operations to address the members of the Tailhook association during the annual banquet since 1991. The 1991 Tailhook is often referenced as an example of the culture problem the military faces today.
"We've got to focus on sexual assault prevention. It happened here in this association years ago, and it can happen anywhere," said Greenert. "It is the challenge of our times. It's a safety issue for me, I think our kids deserve a climate of dignity and respect and a good place to work."
Greenert went on to talk about the future of naval aviation, aircraft carriers, the undersea domain, and how the Navy will work within the restricted fiscal environment expected in fiscal year 2014.
"It's difficult challenging times but it's also an opportunity for us," he said. "We need to leverage what naval aviation does best, be adaptable and flexible - for me it's payloads and platforms."
Greenert opened and closed by citing the strength and success of the Navy comes from the men and women who volunteer to serve the country. At the beginning of his speech he cited this year being the 40th anniversary of the all-volunteer force and at the end he cited the book and movie line from the Bridges at Toko Ri: "Admiral, where do we find such people?"
"Answer is, right here, they are in this room. They were in this room before all of us were in this room... As long as we have kids like you and like we have now, and those that are flying today, we'll be all right," he said.